Peds-to-Adult Transitions: 3 Steps You Can Take Today 

Adolescence is a time of transition for many young people, including moving from parent-supervised health care to taking charge of their personal health care needs. Unfortunately, challenges of the adolescent years often add up to gaps in care that can lead to negative health outcomes and frustration for patients and families alike.  

As young people graduate from high school and move into a new phase of early adulthood, it’s a good time to focus on moving these patients to adult care. Below are three steps you can take today to make these health care transitions (HCTs) successful: 

  1. Assess patient readiness for adult care. Assessing young people’s readiness to transition to adult health care is an important initial step in the HCT process. The use of a transition readiness assessment (TRA) is helpful in engaging youth and parents/caregivers to set health priorities, address self-care skills and prepare them to independently use health care services. Clinicians should begin conducting TRAs at age 14 to 16 and continue throughout the HCT period until the youth has transferred. See a sample TRA from the “Got Transition” program here
  1. Teach self-care and self-management. Adolescence is the right time for the introduction of “adulting” skills. Routine appointments can be a time for relaxed talk with young patients about upcoming issues and responsibilities and how to handle those challenges.  
  1. Promote medical and educational self-advocacy. For adolescents, self-advocacy is about understanding their own strengths, weaknesses and unique needs—and how to ask for the help they need when they don’t understand. An invaluable resource in this process is Got Transition, which has created a “Youth & Young Adults” section on its website that speaks directly to teenagers on the basics and the importance of HCT. 

Visit the VHAN Hub Resource Library to download the Pediatric to Adult Transitions Quick Reference Guide, which offers tips and techniques to help you effectively move your young patients through the transition from pediatric to adult care.

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